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A History of Ethiopia

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In this eminently readable, concise history of Ethiopia, Harold Marcus surveys the evolution of the oldest African nation from prehistory to the present. For the updated edition, Marcus has written a new preface, two new chapters, and an epilogue, detailing the development and implications of Ethiopia as a Federal state and the war with Eritrea.
Paperback, Updated Edition, 335 pages
Published February 22nd 2002 by University of California Press (first published September 30th 1994)
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17th out of 111 books — 52 voters

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J.M. Hushour
If you grew up in the 1980s, your first association with the word 'Ethiopia' is probably a needle-limbed child starving to death in the desert while the shrill demoness Sally Struthers solicited money from your parents that meant, nope, you're not getting that Thundercats temple base for Christmas. Mumm-Raaa!
Reading this book is not dissimilar from listening to Sally Struthers (really, couldn't they find someone a little less nose-bleed inducing?). It is pinched, high-pitched, and often wince-in
I waver between two and one stars for this book. I chose this book as one of the more highly rated thorough histories of Ethiopia but the writing style and content were often disappointing. While I do feel I learned a lot about the modern history of Ethiopia, since the 1800's, I learned next to nothing about culture, except obtusely through politics, about lifestyles, and not all that much about pre-1600 Ethiopia. Marcus chose to skim over "early" history of Ethiopia by rattling off names of emp ...more
N.W. Martin
A surprisingly readable survey of Ethiopian history. You must remember Marcus is one of those historians trying to tell a story that funnels into and connects with the historical facts that the stories are based. This is why much of his history comes from the oral stories (much like most of our information on early greek history) that are still breathing on Ethiopia. So far, so good... Though, as this book is a survey, it is definitely not comprehensive. It is a good introduction to those who ar ...more
Solid, if underwhelming.
Fascinating country with a very long history. It's an entirely different take on Africa than all the post-colonial states. The book is a bit too concise in some areas. I mean, the reign of Haile Selassie takes up a third of the book yet he doesn't even say when or how he died after he was captured by rebels. Many other oversights like this. But if you want a history of Ethiopia you have to take what you can get.
Daniel Belay
After quickly discussing Solomonic Dynasties for fifty pages, Marcus spends the great majority of the book on historical figures of Modern Ethiopia: Emperor Tewodros II, Menelik II, Haile Selassie I, Mengistu Haile Mariam etc. Overall this book does an excellent job of balancing context, analysis, and story--resulting in a readily accessible modern history of Ethiopia.
Nathan Blair
I hoped there would be some cultural history of the various ethnic groups of Ethiopia and Eritrea, but other than that hope, the book was very informative. Perhaps a bit alphabet soupy for those not accustomed to political histories, the book was very detailed. I can appreciate more the history behind all the conflict in this part of the horn after this read. I recommend it.
Un livre dont le premier et le plus grand mérite est d'exister, l Ethiopien ayant malheureusement pas suscité suffisemment de vocations malgré Raimbaud et Ruffin...Sur une trame de faits très inégalement rapportés, avec des périodes historiques ( et en particulier les origines) trop sommairement tracées, il manque par ailleurs d'analyses et de synthèses...
Very comprehensive and helpful background for some of the work I have done in country. The strong focus on military campaigns is, however, a bit dry and limiting, though I do understand how interwoven that is with the political and ethnic context.
Fairly dry, but I'm glad I read it. Learned something about the cultural mentality of Ethiopians. Would be interesting to get a more human, less academic perspective to complement this which was pretty academic.
Sintayehu Regassa
this book explains the political and economic also military problems in Ethiopian about 2 decades ago. For person interested in know about Ethiopian politics this book would help a lot.
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